Silver, gold, bronze. These are the typical colors in the jeweler’s palette. But what if you could incorporate eye-popping color into your pieces with just a few simple steps? Enameling, and cloisonné enameling in particular, gives you the power to play with color in any piece you make. And it’s easy to get started.
The artistic possibilities with cloisonné are never-ending. The process involves using strip or wire to form small compartments that can then hold enamel. The artform dates back to ancient times, when artisans used pieces of glass and stones in place of modern enamels.
Master enamelist Ricky Frank has taught several classes on the technique here at Rio, the most recent of which was at our Winter Workshop in January. His students are always asking, "What do I need at my bench to get started?".
The answer is, not much! Here are the basics you’ll need to set up your enameling workshop!
- This little Blazer Butane Microtorch has all the firepower you need to get started working with enamels right on your bench, and its compact, economical form makes it ideal for beginners. Torch-firing enamels is a great way to get started with a limited investment. If you try it out and LOVE it (which we’re pretty sure you will) you can upgrade to a kiln, which will give you more enameling options.
- A stainless steel mesh firing rack allows you to torch fire pieces from underneath.
- Copper Sheet: Copper sheet and findings are a great way to practice when you’re getting started. Move on to fine silver as you gain confidence.
- Copper Strip Wire: Solder on to sheet or findings to create compartments.
- Pre-Cut Copper Stampings: Buy the shapes you need pre-cut so you can get right to enameling.
- Thomspon Lead-Free Enamels: Thompson Enamels come in an incredible range of colors and shades, including transparent and opaque, so whatever you dream up, you can create.
- Enamel Adhesive: Holds your enamel in place and burns off during firing.
Would you like to get everything you need to get started (and a little more) in one easy package? Pick up the Thompson Enamel Beginner’s Kit. The only additional thing you’ll need to buy with this kit is a torch or kiln.
Ready to get started? Begin practicing techniques with this basic Enameled Cloisonné Pendant Project. Ricky Frank will be back at Rio teaching a Cloisonné Enameling Class in October, so you can learn from a master. Mark your calendar now!
New to making jewelry? This coming June, Rio will offer the Jewelry-Maker’s Techniques Toolbox, a 5-day hands-on learning extravaganza of jewelry techniques! Taught by designer, jewelry maker, and teacher Jim Dailing, this class will cover every basic technique jewelers need to stock their just-gettin’-started toolbox of skills. Find out more in today’s post at The Studio…...Read the Rest
Anodizing is a simple and fun way to add color to your niobium work. What, you don’t work in niobium?? Why not? Niobium is hypoallergenic and naturally silver-gray with an extraordinary capacity to take on color using nothing more than a micro anodizer and a cup of electrolyte....Read the Rest
Every week or so, Rio Grande posts a call for entries on its Facebook fan page. These quick little contests call for jewelry and art objects that meet various parameters. We’ve asked for everything from filigree jewelry to cloisonné pieces. From PMC pieces to horse-themed jewelry. Take a look at today’s post to learn how you can “get in the jewelry game,” and have your craftsmanship admired by thousands!...Read the Rest
Have you ever been disappointed to find that the end product of your jewelry design did not quite live up to what you had envisioned? Consider this: The more techniques you have at your disposal, the more satisfied you’ll be with your results. Rio Grande offers classes that can take your jewelry making to the next level. Read about three such classes coming up in May and then register before they fill up!...Read the Rest
Spring is here! Today, on the Studio, Bernadette Bennett shares her tips for dressing up your jewelry with fresh, colorful, spring-inspired packaging!...Read the Rest
Rio recently introduced new WHITE COPPRclay to its line of base metal clays, and every clay artist in the building could hardly wait to work with it. After giving him some time to experiment, we cornered Rio Grande metal clay artist and Tech Team member Thomas Flores and asked him what he’s discovered about this exciting new color of COPPRclay. Read about his experiences today at The Studio....Read the Rest
Did you know that every day of the week, Rio Grande’s Twitter page is abuzz with jewelry industry news and Rio Grande updates? Your life is busy, so we want to make it simple for you to find interesting and relevant information in ONE place. Our Twitter feed delivers up-to-date news on the jewelry world and on the hottest Rio Grande products....Read the Rest
Social media holds many opportunities for promoting your jewelry business, but where do you begin? One effective—and manageable—place to start is to create a business page on Facebook. Millions of people post, like, share, make buying decisions, and see your images and posts on Facebook. Here’s how to gather your own fan base on Facebook, from start to finish....Read the Rest
In this fourth installment of Ashli’s Tumbler Series, she introduces us to Avalon Centrifugal tumblers. Avalon tumblers are easy to operate and provide a remarkably quick and consistent jewelry finish. They also eliminate media impingement (surface deformation or dimpling) that can be caused by certain media in other finishers. Check out this and ALL of Ashli’s tumbler posts to find the right tumbler for your needs!...Read the Rest